A contractor was left with a bloodied face after violence erupted at a controversial cell tower site in Havelock North.

Hastings District Councillor Damon Harvey, at the site in a mediation role, was amongst those who stopped the altercation about 3.35pm on Monday at the site of a cell tower on Te Mata Rd, adjacent to 1 Durham Dr.

The incident involved a worker on the site, and the adult son of a resident who had been protesting against the cell tower.

Before the violence broke out, the resident had been inside a hole that contractors had dug.


The resident's son and a worker became involved in a conversation shortly after contractors had finished pouring concrete at the site.

Hastings district councillor Damon Harvey was one of the people who broke the fight up. At left is one of the men allegedly involved in the altercation. Photo / Warren Buckland
Hastings district councillor Damon Harvey was one of the people who broke the fight up. At left is one of the men allegedly involved in the altercation. Photo / Warren Buckland

The conversation became heated and the pair exchanged blows.

Harvey had been onsite, speaking to a resident, but did not see the fight start. The two men who were fighting had knocked a fence over.

"All I saw was the fence come down, a whole lot of yelling and then swinging fists and two guys who were all over each other."

He says he instinctively ran over to try and stop the violence.

The incident comes as a group of Havelock North residents vowed to oppose the site as they say they were not properly consulted.

However, network provider Spark says it has "followed our usual notification process of notifying residents immediately adjacent to the site".

There were about 10 people at the site, and police arrived about five minutes after the fight had ended.


Havelock North residents had earlier called for an urgent meeting with Spark and demanded work on the site stop.

A Spark spokeswoman said they are investigating the "extremely concerning" incident and would determine their next steps based on that.

She said Spark had constructed well over 100 new cell sites around the country during the past year and this is the first time a physical altercation had taken place, "which is highly regrettable".

Spark organised security for the site after it had been damaged over the weekend.

Stephen Fookes, who lives at 1 Durham Dr and whose fence is directly behind the cell tower said: "there is no advantage of having people out of control or getting too emotional".

"I think that is a disappointment and I am certainly striving to make sure that that doesn't occur again and that people act in a responsible and controlled manner."


Harvey and fellow Hastings District Councillor Malcolm Dixon had been trying since Friday to halt further construction on the site, at the residents' request, until Spark has a meeting with those concerned.

Harvey said "We need an urgent meeting with Spark and residents do not want any further works until this meeting has been held. The group is also looking at other actions to stop work including legal measures".

"The residents are really frustrated because they haven't been able to meet with Spark."

Harvey and residents spoken to by Hawke's Bay Today say the "last thing" they wanted was any physical altercations.

"We just need the heat taken out of the situation. People need to remain calm."

An action group meeting is planned for Wednesday to work out what their next steps are and "Spark has agreed to come and meet with the action group as soon as a time and a date can be organised".


A HDC spokeswoman said council's only involvement in the site had been to consider an application for a certificate of compliance.

"This was approved as it met requirements of the National Environmental Standard for Telecommunication Facilities."

On Monday morning, emergency services had been called to the site as residents were unsure whether gas was spouting from a punctured pipe.

It was found to be water, and an HDC maintenance contractor was called to "repair minor damage to a pipe".